9 Signs You’re At A Liberal Arts College


Photo: Lisa Pines (Getty Images)

Liberal arts colleges are unlike any other. From the kinds of people who inhabit them to the vibes around campus, there are a handful of characteristics that are very specific to the liberal arts experience. We broke them down for you so you can recognize a liberal arts college campus immediately…and vacate if necessary!

1. Extreme Walk-ability

At a liberal arts college, the furthest you’ll ever have to travel across campus is about a three-minute walk from the dining hall to the library. If you’re lazy, this is really the best it’ll ever get: your bed, your food supply, and your responsibilities all within mere feet of each other.

2. Liberalism

It’s called a “liberal” arts school for a reason. Expect leftist views, politically-correct language, unpacking of all kinds of “ism”s, and rebellion against any right-leaning policies or administration at least until Election Day 2020.

3. Mathematical Incompetence

Liberal arts students use their fingers to count and take hours to figure out what the 20 percent tip on a $15 meal at the sole diner in town should be. At liberal arts colleges, the mathematically challenged are able to thrive. Liberal arts students may not understand math but they can quote you plenty of David Foster Wallace (as soon as they Infinite Jest, that is).

4. White-Out

Look around, breathe in the country air, taste the almond milk matcha latte running down your throat. Now open your eyes and look around. For all the claims about how woke liberal arts colleges are, there are an awful lot of white students enrolled.

5. Frisbee, Frisbee, and More Frisbee

You’ve never seen so much Frisbee before. Everywhere you look, men with bandannas are throwing a plastic disc back and fourth.

6. Professors Know Your Name

If you receive personalized emails from professors, if your professors notice your absence in class, and if your professors expect you to come to their office hours, you’re either teacher’s pet, an absolute genius attending a large university, or you’re just at a liberal arts college.

7. Varsity Theater > Varsity Football

At liberal arts colleges, students with dyed hair singing Sondheim can be seen shoving crew cut-sporting, masculine, Tom Brady jersey-wearing undergrads into lockers left and right. Just kidding…kind of. Theater and anything similarly odd, creative, or on the fringes reigns in the liberal arts kingdom.

8. Kegs are for What?

If you’ve ever seen Animal House or Blue Mountain State, well, liberal arts colleges are the antithesis of that.

9. No, My Degree is More Useless Than Yours

Gender studies? Seventeenth Century French lit? Philosophy? The battle between majors that won’t lead to employment and also make your parents feel like you’re wasting their money rages in the liberal arts environment.


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